Thursday, January 11, 2018

Deals and sales you should talk me out of today

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It's very quiet and boring at work today, so I'm browsing online sales. Since I'm on a budget, I really shouldn't buy anything, and yet. Please feel free to comment and tell me why I should or should not buy any of these things (or why you will or will not buy them yourself).

Nordstrom Rack finally has their beauty section online, and it includes some interesting shit. I actually already bought myself the Urban Decay Electric Palette for $24, since I'd been kicking myself for not getting it when it was on sale elsewhere (plus I had a Nordstrom gift card). But they also have a bunch more from Urban Decay, MAC, Smashbox, LORAC, etc., all of which I should not buy. (But speaking of good things I already bought from Nordstrom Rack, I also got this wool cardigan for $37, and it's perfect. I'm probably going to eventually get it in a couple more colors for work.)

Butter London's on HauteLook, and here's another thing I own that I recommend: Two Fingered Salute. It's one of my favorite nail polishes--mint with copper glitter. Hey, so far I am mostly finding things that you should or shouldn't buy and nothing for myself! I'm patting myself on the back.

Oh wait. Here's where I need help: Sephora. I'm very tempted to get the 4-piece Jack Black lip balm set for $20. I know I shouldn't be hoarding lip balm, but hear me out. It's one of my favorite formulas (it works amazingly well and doesn't taste like sunscreen), and $5 a piece isn't bad, and I really want to try the pomegranate and lavender scents. Also, they are offering double points on skincare today, which honestly isn't much incentive for me, personally. But then I might as well add a Bite lip crayon for $10 so that I can get one of the freebies (the code 25delights still works, by the way). I have a Flash subscription, so I don't have to pay for shipping. See how I talk myself into these things? Rebuttal?

By the way, if you really want to keep track of beauty sales, I'd suggest reading the Beauty Deals BFF blog. She also posts things like value calculations for free gifts, which are always very interesting.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Sparkle Eyes: Review of G9SKIN Pink Blur Hydrogel Eyepatches

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Review of G9SKIN Pink Blur Hydrogel Eyepatches

Has it really been since the middle of November that I last blogged? Shit. Well, I have the excuse that I moved (AGAIN) from Texas to southern California during that time, and then there were the holidays, but really I just hadn't been feeling as motivated and creative as I could have been. Today I actually felt like writing a blog post again, so here we are. I hope the impulse will continue!

I'm reviewing a type of product, gel eye patches soaked in essence, that is new to me, but is probably very familiar to K-beauty veterans. Patches that stick below your eyes aren't actually a new invention, and they're not strictly Asian in origin. I had these squishy patches from Klorane at least a decade ago, though they aren't drenched in liquid, and they cost more for just seven pairs than for the entire jar I'm reviewing here.

I picked these up because the change in environment between the Midwest and Texas seemed to be making the sunken area under my eyes more pronounced, and I wanted to see if I could plump it up a bit. (See my misguided attempt to use The Ordinary's serum here.) There are a number of eye masks or patches that claim to help with this sort of thing, but the G9 Skin Pink Blur Hydrogel Patches had the combined advantages of only costing about $15 for a jar of 120 (!) and being available from Amazon. (Possibly cheaper elsewhere, so shop around.)

Review of G9SKIN Pink Blur Hydrogel Eyepatches

As you can see, you get a well-sealed jar with a little spatula, and it's full of soupy essence. There are two different sizes of patches, so you can take your pick--or use the big ones below your eye and the small ones on your upper eyelid. The patches are gelatinous and very slippery, so you definitely need the spatula to scoop them out. They are sparkly and mesmerizing, but the glitter is part of the patches themselves, so it doesn't transfer to your skin (unfortunately?).

Here's how it looks on my face:


Since the patches are so wet, they tend to slide around a bit. I've had the best luck with them if I lie down on my back while they're on, but they still require occasional adjustment. (I've read some reviews of these things that claim they are very dry, which, as you can see from the photo above, isn't at all the case with my jar. Quality control issues?) Other than being slimy and wiggly and a little creepy-feeling, I find these patches comfortable. They don't irritate my skin or eyes. I leave them on for 20-30 minutes as recommended, and then remove them and pat or rub in the little bit of fluid that's left behind. I tend to add another moisturizer on top after everything has absorbed.

While these patches contain "8 kinds of berries" low on the ingredients list, which are supposed to brighten and "revitalize," the star ingredient here is really the glycerin. Glycerin is an excellent humectant, which can attract and hold moisture in the skin. That's really what you need for a plumping effect. (You can read the full list on CosDNA.)

Here's my under-eye area before and after using the patches for about 25 minutes. Apologies for the grainy photos, but this is the kind of thing I tend to do indoors at night, so I tried to at least get consistent lighting.

Before:


After:


Can you tell a difference? I think there is an ever-so-slight improvement in the lines under my eyes, which could result from the plumping effects of extra moisture. I will say that the skin does feel a bit bouncier and moister after using them, but all these effects are temporary, of course. They don't do anything for my dark circles, naturally--only concealer will help those.

Do you need these? I think if you have a moisturizer that you like using around your eyes, these patches aren't going to do a whole lot more. They are fun, though, and since they do some good and no harm, I've been enjoying them. And I have so many left that they're going to last a very, very long time.

Do you use any special products on your undereyes, or are you of the camp that anything that's good enough for the rest of your face is good enough for them too?

Friday, November 17, 2017

Shadow Swatches: Miscellaneous Eyeshadow Singles and Quads from Stila, L'Oréal, Tom Ford, Butter London, Revlon, and Urban Decay

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Eyeshadow Singles and Quads from Stila, L'Oréal, Tom Ford, Butter London, Revlon, and Urban Decay

I didn't buy anything during the Sephora sale, did you? 20% off just isn't very exciting for me. I mean maybe if there was something I was definitely planning to buy anyway, it would be better to get 20% off than no discount at all, but there wasn't. Plus I have a bunch of Ulta points to use on frivolous shit.

Instead of shopping, lately, I've been playing with what I already have, including these eyeshadows which I realized I'd (mostly) never written about on my blog. Rather than doing a full review of them, I thought I'd just take some swatch photos and say a little about what I like or don't like about each. Not all of them are currently available, but I hope you enjoy the pretty pictures anyway.

The swatches below were made with a brush over primer (Black Radiance eyeshadow primer, reviewed here). If this were a proper review, I would have swatched them with and without primer for your information, but I just really wanted to show you the color and finish clearly. You can still tell which ones are shitty even over primer, anyway.

Oh, and I took way too many photos, which probably all look the same, so here's a cut.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Free Stuff (+ Shipping) from Stila, Beauty Blender, and DHC

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I haven't posted deals in a while! But here are a couple that were inspiring enough for me to get out of my warm bed and open up my computer.

Get a $25 credit good for any Stila purchase from Beautykind when you use this link. That means you can get one of those Magnificent Metals eyeshadows (or anything $25 and below) for just the cost of shipping: $6. I've bought from Beautykind before and had no problems (here's what I bought last time). There's a similar offer from Beautyblender, but I think you can only redeem one per address.

DHC also has a deal where new customers can try their Olive Essentials Travel Set (regular $16.50) for free when you pay for shipping ($4.50) with code TRYB4UBUY. I haven't tried that stuff, but it sounds nice. If that's not up your alley, you can also get 25% off your first order with code WELCOME17, and if you're not a new customer, they are offering free shipping on orders of $35+ with code NOVSAVE35.

Any other good deals you've heard about lately?

Sunscreen is for lazy people, too: Review of Kinesys Performance Sunscreen in SPF 50 Fragrance-Free and SPF 30 Mango

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Review of Kinesys Performance Sunscreen in SPF 50 Fragrance-Free and SPF 30 Mango

Earlier this year I panicked because I thought that my favorite facial sunscreen, the one I'd been using for years, had been abruptly discontinued. My short post about it ended up being one of my most visited posts ever, so I clearly wasn't alone. Eventually Lisa from Kinesys sent me a message to reassure me that the sunscreen would be back soon, to my great relief. Once it was restocked, she also generously sent two free bottles of varieties I had never used before to test and review: Kinesys Performance Sunscreen Fragrance Free in SPF 50 and Performance Sunscreen Mango Scent in SPF 30. In the past, I'd always stuck with the Fragrance-Free SPF 30 (reviewed here), and it never let me down.

Kinesys is all about gearing their sunscreens toward active, energetic, athletic people, as you can see from their sunscreen (and the fact that it has Performance in the name). But I want to suggest to you that it's just as good an option for the lazy, clumsy, and slow, like me--especially those of us who are looking for a lightweight facial sunscreen to wear under our makeup. You normally don't think of sprays as an ideal facial sunscreen formula (this isn't a facial mist/setting spray, after all), but the thin, non-greasy texture that makes it work for outdoorsy types is the same thing that makes it ideal as a facial sunscreen for us painted ladies.

If you've read my previous Kinesys review (or really, any of my sunscreen reviews), you'll know what I'm looking for: no smearing, no burning, no stinging my eyes, minimal greasy feeling, can apply makeup on top of it. Both of the two sunscreens pictured above fit the bill, along with the unscented SPF 30 I'd previously used. As I said, it's not a facial mist, so don't spray it directly on your face, or you're not going to be happy. Spray it into the palm of your hand and apply it just like you would any other sunscreen. It's a clear, thin liquid.

Review of Kinesys Performance Sunscreen in SPF 50 Fragrance-Free and SPF 30 Mango

The formula is silicone-based, so if your skin can't tolerate 'cones, you might want to skip this one. I've also found that water-based skincare products can cause this sunscreen to pill/get chunky, but that can be avoided by patting on the sunscreen instead of rubbing it, or just not using the two products at the same time. Personally, there are lots of serums and moisturizers that work for me, but not a lot of sunscreens that I like, so I am more willing to switch around other parts of my routine while holding on to a sunscreen that I know I will apply on a daily basis.

This stuff can feel a little slick immediately after you apply it, and the SPF 50 is slightly heavier, not surprisingly, than the SPF 30. I usually apply my sunscreen, wait about 10 minutes, and then put my makeup on top. Even without makeup, it won't smear after it soaks in a bit, though your skin will feel a little moist. If that bothers you, a light dusting of translucent powder will fix it.

One possible downside of this type of sunscreen is that I'm not sure what is the optimal amount to use in oder to to get the desired SPF. It seems like tests that determine you should use 1/4 tsp for your face and neck are usually based on lotion or cream formulas. I tend to dispense one and a half sprays into the palm of my hand, apply it to my face and neck, and then add another small spray especially around my eyes and hairline, which I might have missed with the first application. That amount seems to cover my skin in a nice, even, complete layer, which is the goal. (By the way, if you haven't watched Lab Muffin's video about how to wear sunscreen with makeup, you really should. It goes over everything about how sunscreens work and what can or cannot interfere with their effectiveness. Fascinating!)

Of the three varieties of Kinesys sunscreen I've now tried, I still prefer the unscented SPF 30, but these two are good alternatives. The SPF 50 is still quite comfortable to wear, and the fragrance in the Mango version is pretty mild--the tropical scent you'd expect, but I can't smell it anymore a few minutes after application.

These sunscreens are around $18-20 for 4 ounces, which might seem a little high, but since a bottle lasts me almost a year using it daily on my face and neck, it's a good value for me. I'd use something cheaper on my body, personally, but I'm pickier with what I use on my face. You can get them on Kinesys's website, where they offer a free sunscreen stick with your purchase (which I've never tried) or on Amazon. Their own site seems to be the only place that the 4 oz. Mango SPF 30 is available at the moment, fyi.

All in all, I'm very happy to be reunited with my favorite sunscreen, even if I won't be doing any parasailing any time soon! Or ever.

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